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UC Berkeley Computer Science and Engineering The Real Story by Students

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UC Berkeley Computer Science and Engineering The Real Story by Students Sevan Tutunciyan - sevan_at_cal.berkeley.edu Vitaliy Bondar vbondar_at_yahoo.com – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: UC Berkeley Computer Science and Engineering The Real Story by Students


1
UC Berkeley Computer Science and EngineeringThe
Real Story by Students
  • Sevan Tutunciyan - sevan_at_cal.berkeley.edu
  • Vitaliy Bondar vbondar_at_yahoo.com
  • Jinhui Li - ligcow_at_yahoo.com

2
Outline
  • Transfer from CSM to UC Berkeley
  • Survive and succeed at UC Berkeley
  • Find and keep your job
  • Questions

3
Part ITransfer from CSM to Berkeley
  • Before Applying
  • Preparing Transfer Application
  • Appealing
  • After Get Accepted

4
Before Applying
  • Dont put all eggs in one basket, aim for
    multiple schools (check www.assist.org)
  • Take as many CS and science courses as possible
  • Unix, Shell scripting, C, C, Java
  • Physics, Engineering
  • Take hard classes at CSM (helps with both
    admission and preparation for Berkeley classes)

5
Before Applying (continued)
  • Take summer courses (61 series) in Berkeley
  • Get a taste of the school life there
  • Get used to the style and the computer system
  • Work with partners, get to know some UCB students
    and transfer students from other colleges
  • Prepare yourself for upper-division classes
  • Good grades might be helpful for admission
  • Will help to finish in 2 years and take
    upper-division classes earlier

6
Before Applying (continued)
  • Get to know your professors, get your professors
    to know you (recommendations)
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Join student government
  • Join a club or start your own club
  • Help a professor with a project, research or
    publication
  • Get a co-op or an internship
  • Cooperative Education helps even international
    students with a job related to major
  • Internship may be easier to get than a full-time
    job

7
Preparing Transfer Application
  • Talk to advisors and university representatives
    (but dont get discouraged)
  • Check online for helpful tips on writing your
    application and personal statement
    (www.collegeboard.com)
  • Personal statement is very important

8
Preparing Transfer Application
  • Personal Statement is your only chance to express
    and distinguish yourself
  • Get sample essays
  • The essay should be persuasive, so have a point,
    state a special quality of yours
  • Be confident and use simple and straightforward
    language
  • Get several people to proof-read the essay. Make
    sure it is smooth and error-free
  • Get free help with your essay in ENGL 850

9
Appeal
  • Follow the appeal guidelines
  • Might need recommendation letters from professors

10
After Get Accepted
  • Talk to Barbara Hightower
  • bhtower_at_cs.berkeley.edu
  • Check out CS/EE department websites
  • www.cs.berkeley.edu
  • www.eecs.berkeley.edu
  • Check out the CS Handbook
  • http//buffy.eecs.berkeley.edu/Advising/CS/Peer/re
    sources/cshandbook.html

11
Part IISurvive and Succeed at Berkeley
  • Overview of CS Program
  • Class and Course Planning Info
  • Resources and More Class Details
  • Opportunities Outside of Class

12
CS Undergraduate Program
  • One of top 5 CS programs in the nation
  • Very theoretical, teaches how to learn specifics
    from abstract
  • CS at Cal is research-oriented, undergrads are
    underdogs.
  • Social, sleep, academic (you can only have two of
    these at any given time)

13
CS Classes
  • Class website
  • Grades use glookup (your best pal)
  • Other resources (TA, reader, lecture notes)
  • Not there to teach you C or Java (thats just a
    side effect)
  • Front-loaded, back-loaded, balanced classes
  • Class admission

14
Teacher Assistants
  • Make use of them, they are your guardian angels
  • They run their own sessions helps to attend
    multiple TA sessions
  • Grad students are often better
  • Watch for their hints (might reveal exam and
    project goodies)
  • Will provide their own notes, good!

15
Professors
  • Their door is open to you (more than you think!)
  • But you arent their first priority
  • Interact with them but be prepared

16
Course Planning
  • Use course plan templates as a guide
  • Admission is tough, so what ?
  • Over-enroll, then drop
  • Have a backup plan
  • Mix front-loaded classes with back-loaded ones
  • Generally dont take more than 2 CS courses in
    one semester

17
Course Planning II
  • Lower division
  • Take CS in the summer to expedite graduation
  • Junior Year
  • Take less-impacted courses
  • Take industry related courses (CS186, CS162,
    CS122, CS170)
  • Senior Year
  • Take more-impacted courses (since now you have
    priority to get into them)

18
Course Planning III
  • General Education (GE) classes
  • Easy ones help you get through CS
  • Hard ones help you grow and take your mind off of
    CS
  • Take advantage of the departments that Berkeley
    is famous for (Philosophy, English, Political
    Science, Math, Economics, etc.)

19
Computer labs and accounts
  • Mostly Unix and some NT
  • Permanent named accounts
  • Class accounts
  • Computers crash and slow down
  • During projects, hog a computer

20
CS Projects
  • Choose your partner(s) carefully (bad partner -gt
    bad project grade)
  • Pay close attention to project specs and to the
    newsgroup
  • Design first, code later (Cathleen Kennedys
    teachings)
  • Didnt start yesterday? Too late!

21
CS Projects II
  • Slip days, save them for later
  • Do project at school, not at home, talk to people
  • Backup your work, and test it (horror story)
  • Use tools (debugger, bug-submit, etc.)
  • Paper-based projects

22
Exams
  • Balance review and practice
  • Practice exams
  • Partial answers
  • Attend review sessions!

23
Study Habits
  • Do not study alone
  • Form a study group, practice this while at CSM!
  • Ask to learn, teach to learn
  • Your friend may know an easier solution
  • Review for others, be questioned
  • Hang around Soda to study
  • Central point for finding classmates

24
Internship
  • If you can get one before Berkeley, thats great
    ! (ask Vitaliy)
  • At Cal, try to get one in Junior year
  • At Cal, 2 ways of getting an internship
  • Good GPA -gt get into EECS internship program
  • Search independently

25
Internship II
  • EECS internship program
  • Apply around February
  • If get in, youll be placed in a company
  • Independent
  • Use Career Centers BearTraks to search for
    internships
  • Attend an internship career fair

26
Research
  • Good for grad school and work experience
  • Often need a good GPA and class experience
    (better in senior year)
  • Preview ongoing CS research using CS website
  • Ask your teachers if they need a research
    assistant
  • Knock on each teachers door, read about their
    research in ADVANCE!

27
How to Get into CS?(CS only, not EECS)
  • How bad is it?
  • General info
  • Academic preparation
  • Other factors
  • Unwritten rules (the real deal)
  • Didnt get in (use Plan B)

28
How Tough is Admission?
  • Admission to School of Engineering admission
    to EECS major
  • Admission to School of Letters and Science !
    admission to CS major
  • Your chances of getting in are
  • Pick heads or tails, flip the coin
  • First time around, on average half of you wont
    make it!
  • BUT YOU CAN RIG THE COIN!

29
General Info on CS
  • Applications are taken 3 times a year
  • Need personal statement, good grades,
    recommendation letters (if any)
  • Can apply twice (this isnt true!)
  • Cant apply too late
  • (in your last semester when you have 120 units!)
  • Can appeal if denied, maybe get minor if not major

30
Academic Preparation
  • Lower-division CS
  • Take one class, but get a good grade
  • Take 2 classes in a semester, but get fair
    grades, that will impress them
  • You are not in the movie Matrix!
  • Dont try to dodge the bullet by taking hard
    courses or hard teachers all at once

31
Other factors
  • Personal Statement
  • Indicate extenuating circumstances
  • Recommendation Letters
  • Should be from CS-related persons
  • One from Cals CS teacher is SUPERB!
  • Understanding your options
  • Make sure to talk to Barbara and get advice on
    how to get in

32
Unwritten Rules / The Real Deal
  • They dont even look at your statement until you
    appeal
  • Because too easy to eliminate by GPA
  • But ask them if they looked at it during appeal
  • If you feel the decision is not fair
  • Request to speak with a deciding faculty member
  • Face to face, you might impress them!

33
Unwritten Rules II
  • Minor
  • When appealing, make noise
  • Sometime youll get a minor instead of a
    rejection
  • Being rejected does not mean...
  • You cannot apply
  • And yes you can apply more than 2 times!

34
Plan B
  • The CS door didnt work out, lets try the
    window!
  • If you at least have a CS Minor
  • At least you have more priority than general
    public in class admission
  • Either way
  • Choose related major (Cognitive science or
    Applied Math)
  • Then keep taking upper division CS and reapply
    with better grades.

35
Plan B (Section II)
  • Cognitive Science
  • Easier classes, more AI-related
  • You get highest priority to get admission to the
    AI course (CS188)
  • Applied Math
  • Admission to Math is easy
  • Harder route, GPA may go down
  • But better CS-related skills

36
Plan B (Section III)
  • Recommended Math Route
  • Can take 3 CS as math requirements
  • Also can use Stat 134 (Probability), good for CS
  • Must take 5 Math courses to graduate from Math
  • But if get into CS, abandon it!
  • So best is to take CS-related Math first!
  • Numerical Analysis and Linear Algebra

37
Plan B (Section IV)
  • IF NONE OF THIS WORKS
  • Do research and get a recommendation letter, that
    may get you in!
  • If that doesnt work or cant do it
  • Just take as much CS as you can
  • Point is to learn, not to get a label
  • My friend took 6-7 CS classes and had a Math
    major gt got a job at NSA

38
Part IIIFind and keep your job
  • Prepare to get a job
  • Get a job
  • Succeed at work

39
Prepare to get a job
  • Keep summaries of all your projects (do something
    extra that you can talk about)
  • Keep class outlines
  • Take important industry classes (Operating
    Systems, Databases, Algorithms) before interview
    season
  • Get an internship or a co-op
  • Learn how to learn (often more important that
    knowledge itself)

40
Get a job
  • Start looking early
  • Be flexible in your expectations
  • Have a backup plan
  • Graduate school
  • take GMAT or GRE early
  • establish a close relationship with at least one
    professor
  • do research
  • Non-corporate jobs (research, government,
    non-profit)
  • Dont give up!

41
To-Dos to succeed at work
  • Ask questions (no more lectures, you have to
    learn the system yourself)
  • Be positive and optimistic (would you want to
    work with yourself?)
  • Help others and they will help you (your team is
    your working family)
  • Volunteer to solve problems (gain knowledge,
    recognition, contacts)
  • Be prepared to work extra hours (since you want
    to!)
  • Take initiative (you have more power than you
    think)
  • Think of possible solutions before bringing up a
    problem

42
To-Dos to succeed at work II
  • Be proactive dont say I dont know say I
    dont know at the moment, but Ill get back to
    you by tomorrow morning
  • Give realistic estimates and live up to your word
    (now you get to decide)
  • Protect yourself and your manager (if you think
    your project will be late by X days, let your
    manager know 2X days ahead)
  • Get a mentor (perspective, encouragement,
    networking)
  • Keep learning (books, courses, subscriptions)
  • Have a life outside of office, or at least try to
    -)

43
Brief Summary
  • Start preparing for transfer early (go to
    www.assist.org and visit your advisors)
  • UC Berkeley is challenging, fun, diverse, and
    definitely worth your efforts
  • With smart preparation and a degree from UC
    Berkeley, you should be able to find and succeed
    in a good job

44
Part IVQuestions?
  • Feel free to contact us by email
  • Sevan Tutunciyan - sevan_at_cal.berkeley.edu
  • Vitaliy Bondar vbondar_at_yahoo.com
  • Jinhui Li - ligcow_at_yahoo.com
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